If you’re usually the one who basically dodges the mistletoe each Christmas because, other than your older cousin, there’s no one for you to kiss (and the thought of that is just gross), then if you happen to be in a relationship this year, Mazel Tov! For a myriad of reasons, it can be exciting to have a significant other to share the holiday season with.
Well, it can be if you prepare for it wisely…
We say that because people who have been in a relationship for a few Thanksgivings, Christmases and New Years already have a routine down. Usually they’ve met each other’s families, they know what will make each other smile for Christmas and New Year’s Eve is not a disappointment for either individual.
But when the relationship is new (meaning that it’s the first year of going into the holiday season), there are usually expectations; ones that, if they are not met, can result in one or both people wondering if being together was actually the right decision.
To help you avoid at least some of this emotional holiday drama, here are five tips on how to handle being in a new relationship during the holidays; how to keep things in perspective so that both of you can make it, together, into the New Year.
Talk about if it’s really time to meet each other’s family. Even if you’ve been dating for eight or nine months, don’t let that pressure you into meeting each other’s relatives if your heart is not totally at peace with it. Families are notorious for making the holiday season be about an anticipated proposal. Therefore, it’s OK to say “Let’s go alone to our families for Thanksgiving and Christmas and toast in the New Year together.” When you’re ready to bring your families into each other’s worlds, you won’t have to overthink it. You’ll know in your hearts when it’s right.
Decide if you want a title or not. There are two direct benefits that come with having a title in a relationship. One is it helps both people to gain clarity on exactly where the relationship is headed. For instance, if all you both are saying is “We’re dating”, that could mean casually while seeing other people or exclusively. The only way you’re really going to know, for sure, is to talk about it. Another advantage is you’ll have an answer when one of your relatives corners you in the kitchen and asks. So yes, take out some time during your next date to talk about if you want to go into the holiday season with a title. Or not. And make sure that you’re both at peace. Either way.
Set a budget on gifts. Yeah we know. That probably doesn’t sound like the most romantic suggestion on the entire planet, but there is still a method to the madness. The only thing worse than not receiving a Christmas present is getting one that is astronomically less expensive than what you purchased. Although it would be awesome if “It’s the thought that counts” always rang true, it’s much more realistic to set a budget. Not only does it keep you both from overspending but from over-expecting as well.
If marriage hasn’t been discussed, don’t put pressure on yourselves now. Yes, it’s pretty common for couples to get engaged during the holidays. What isn’t common is for it to never have been discussed prior to then, only for a ring to appear out of nowhere. So, if the two of you haven’t explored what it would be like to walk down an aisle, try and avoid putting or wanting a little box under the Christmas tree.
New relationships need to be treated that way. And what if you’ve only been dating for a few weeks or a couple of months? Well, even if the two of you do see a future together, the holidays are probably not the best time to make that grand announcement (just in case you happen to change your mind at some point in the upcoming months). Exchange gifts, privately. Promise to Facetime and text. Get a mistletoe for your own homes. Embrace the fact that sometimes, absence really does make the heart grow fonder. And that by keeping things light, that can make it easier to get through the beginning stages of dating during the holiday season.